SONY DSCIn Part One, we explored the importance of Jesus’ resurrection and our participation with Him in it. We discovered that, without His resurrection, our faith is futile (1Corinthians 15:16-17). Why? Because it is by His life, not His death, that we shall be saved (Romans 5:10).

Our participation in Jesus’ resurrection is an elementary principle; easy to understand and believe for those with ears to hear. However, it is not enough to acknowledge and believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. “Faith without works is dead” applies as much to the resurrection as any other faith we claim. We must live out of that resurrected life.

The Resurrected Life

Jesus’ death would have been worthless without His resurrection. The same is true for His disciples. We died with Him. If we are not also resurrected with Him, then we are just dead. By grace, through faith, this is not the case.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by [the] faith [of] the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

In the particular context of this passage, our participation in the crucifixion of Christ accomplished two very important things: It killed our old man; and positioned us to receive the life of Christ.

Keep in mind: The resurrection of the dead is an elementary principle. Though you may sense the depth of mystery that lies beyond, this is not spiritual rocket science.

  1. Jesus died on the cross.
  2. We spiritually died with Him.
  3. He was resurrected.
  4. We have been spiritually resurrected with Him; into His spiritual life.

This is the meaning of every Scripture passage that uses the phrase “in Christ”. “In Christ” is not some metaphorical concept. It is an elementary spiritual reality.

“Jesus Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!!”

This is the common cry on every Resurrection Sunday. It might help us to continue the response with:

“He is alive! And we are alive in Him!!”

You may be experiencing some confusion in regards to the timing of the resurrection of the dead. Like me, you may have been left to believe that the resurrection of the dead was a future event.

Regrettably, this has become a common error in the church. Our event-oriented theology has minimalized the great processes of God (e.g., salvation, transformation). Paul’s earnest encouragement to the Church at Philippi is one of my favorite “process” passages:

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Philippians 3:8-11

Gaining Christ, being found in Him, and knowing Him are experiences of this life. It is no coincidence that Paul also included His desire to “know… the power of His resurrection”. Paul’s passionate confession is a pressing on to attain the resurrection from the dead – on this side of heaven.

This passage clearly describes an ongoing activity – a process. The resurrection from the dead is a process that begins when we are born again, in Christ Jesus. It finds its end in our physical resurrection, at the end of the age – when we will be like Him (1John 3:2). In the meantime, by grace through faith, we are laying hold of His resurrected life.

Is it possible to be as excited and passionate as Paul about the resurrection of the dead? Paul experienced the resurrection life and determined to have all that it promised. This passionate desire lies in the heart of every disciple – for ourselves, and for those we love. How can we neglect so great a salvation? We must surrender to the Holy Spirit’s work for our continuing and progressing resurrection from the dead.

If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, you became so through faith. That faith came to you through ears you were given to hear the word of God (Romans 10:17). In the same way, the life which you now live in the flesh you live by the faith of the Son of God.

The faith that launched you on this adventure is the same that appropriates the resurrected life of Jesus Christ. As we will discover in Part 3, that life is filled with His power.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Humbly Yours and Forever His,